Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy offered a brief written apology on Saturday, days after he made some stunning and wildly incorrect comments regarding his program and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some,” Gundy said in a statement. “It was never my intention to offend anyone and I apologize. My first priority is and will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university.”
In a news conference on Tuesday — which he kicked off with a racist remark and continually spouted off misinformation and numerous conspiracy theories — Gundy said he hoped that coaches would be able to return to work at the team’s offices by May 1, and that he wanted to bring players back to campus soon amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
His players, he said, are healthy enough to fight the virus off on their own.
“They’re in good shape. They’re all 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old, they’re healthy,” Gundy said Tuesday. “A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, their antibodies and buildup they have — and there’s some people that are asymptomatic. If that’s true, yeah we sequester them. And people say that’s crazy. No that’s not crazy. Because we need to continue to budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
Gundy thought it’d be possible to return — despite the Big 12 conference having a ban on all in-person activities through May 31 — by that date because he thinks that there will be testing available for his staff and players. Testing for the coronavirus, however, is still not widely available.
“I’m thinking in three or four weeks we can have the tests ready and available for people that aren’t sick based on can we test the employees, the 100 people that work in our building, can we swab them and clear them to come into the building and get back to work,” Gundy said on Tuesday.
“Once we’ve done that, I’m looking to start testing the players and bring them back. How fast that can happen based on the tests available, I can’t say right now. But that’s the plan. We have to have a plan and the plan right now is for that to start on May 1. It might get backed up two weeks. I don’t know. I can’t make that call. But if it does, we’ll start with the employees of this company then we’ll bring in the players slowly but surely.”
There were more than 518,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Saturday afternoon, according to The New York Times. More than 20,100 died due to the virus, too, the most in the world.
Gundy’s comments prompted Oklahoma State to issue a statement shortly after his teleconference on Tuesday.
“Everyone wants to return to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible. As for Oklahoma State University, we will adhere to the advice of public health experts who are making informed decisions in the best interest of the citizens of our nation and state based on sound scientific data,” the university said.
“We will also abide by the federal and state mandates as well as Big 12 guidelines. We will not compromise the health and well-being of our campus community. This virus is deadly and we will do our part at Oklahoma State to help blunt the spread.”
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